Tag Archives: japanese

Identifying asian languages

My girlfriend sometimes asks me what country/language is that?
(When seeing written text or hearing people talk)

I’ve studied japanese a long time ago, and I still can read some characters. Sometimes the western words are translated using katakana.
Those are easier. ( For years i had a little card in my wallet with katakana, written a large japanese scroll on ricepaper, a computer demo and terminal tools)

Modern Japanese is written in a mixture of three basic scripts: Kanji — which are Chinese ideographic symbols — as well as Hiragana and Katakana — two phonetic alphabets (syllables). There are a few thousand Kanji characters, while Hiragana and Katakana have 46 each

Katakana chart
ア a イ i ウ u エ e オ o
カ ka キ ki ク ku ケ ke コ ko
サ sa シ shi ス su セ se ソ so
タ ta チ chi ツ tsu テ te ト to
ナ na ニ ni ヌ nu ネ ne ノ no
ハ ha ヒ hi フ fu ヘ he ホ ho
マ ma ミ mi ム mu メ me モ mo
ヤ ya ユ yu ヨ yo
ラ ra リ ri ル ru レ re ロ ro
ワ wa
ン n

So mostly a consonant combined with a vowel.
A dash – for a dubble vowel, and a u can be silent.

My name is ヘンリ

In my mind i use below to identify languages.

  • Indian: Lines with things hanging from it
  • Thai: round stuff with circles
  • Korean: straight lines with circles
  • Chinese: Very busy lines (blocks filled with lines)
  • Japanese: Blocks with lines alternated with simple characters
  • Vietnamese: They borrow chinese characters, rest “western” with dots and ^ ‘ stuff

Spoken language is difficult to explain, but these guys nail it.